Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nana's Famous Rolls

Either I'm very ambitious or just plain insane.

Sunday was a Family Reunion for my husband's family. Since a lot of people are from out of town, my mother-in-law orchestrates the meal and gets the locals to do the cooking. I have been doing the deviled eggs since joining the family, (more on that later). This year, I wanted to try a recipe of Nana's, one for which she is famous.

For just about any family function we have, Nana will make her yeast rolls. It just wouldn't be right if she didn't make them. So, of course, I had to try my hand at making them. I volunteered to make them for the reunion. Here's the thing: I'd never made rolls before, and I don't have the best track record with yeast. But for some reason, the challenge didn't register, even after calculating the need to make a double recipe. No biggie, right?

I have to say the rolls turned out pretty well, especially for my first time making them. I did learn two important lessons: my oven browns them too quickly and if I want the rolls to taste just like Nana's, margarine cannot be substituted. I feel confident that, with some practice, I will be able to make these rolls just like Nana herself.

Nana's Refrigerator Rolls
Yields 3-6 dozen depending on cutter size

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (boiling)
2 eggs beaten
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup water (lukewarm)
6 cups plain flour (unsifted)
1 stick melted margarine

Place shortening, sugar and salt in a large bowl, pour in boiling water and stir until shortening is softened. Allow to cool.

Add eggs to mixture. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water and stir, then add to mixture. Stir in flour and mix to fully blend all ingredients. Cover with foil and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make sure there is room for dough expansion in the bowl.

Just over 3 hours before baking, roll out dough to about 1/2 inch on a floured surface. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on baking sheets. Brush with melted margarine and fold over in half. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 3-4 hours, (a warm environment is best).

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until browned to your liking. Brush tops with remaining margarine. Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator and later heated in microwave or warmed in the oven.

To make ahead of time, bake until not quite browned then freeze or store in refrigerator, then thaw and brown in oven as above.

Note: I used a medium sized biscuit cutter and it made larger rolls by the time they had done all their rising. Having doubled the recipe for the reunion, I ended up with 85 rolls total.

Click here for the printable recipe at Tasty Kitchen.